Friday, February 27, 2015

End of february progress

Originally we wanted to "finish" the test game by now.
But Cres arm started acting up about a week ago, so the only thing we've got done since then is that one webcomic page...

And no, it's nothing serious!
Technically we could have ignored it and still worked on, but we decided it's better to be cautious and take a week off, instead of risking making it worse and not being able to work for several months again.

So... more swimming in the upcoming weeks...
(I really dislike swimming...)

This also means we're a bit behind schedule with ordered commissions as well.
Sorry for the delay!

First we need to finish the commissions, and do a webcomic page each week as well.
We'll invest all our spare time into finishing this test game as soon as possible.
So hopefully releasing the test game works out in march.

Actually, I do have something that I could release right now...
But I really want to implement the few last things that are missing.
(by that I mean, the stuff I wanted to have in the test game once it's being released)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Debating about Patreon "prices"

First of all, two status announcements to two of our games! (yup, two of them)
The Patreon "debate" is down below in this post.

The test game: "Last Demon Hunter" goes along smoothly.
I'm talking about this game:

Last Demon Hunter (aka Test Game)

As you can see, it's a topdown shooter with minimal graphics.
The CGs are also sketch only, well, it's a test-game after all.

Current status:

I'll need some more time before the random generation is implemented, but I'm making progress.
Please keep in mind: this game will never be "finished" (by that I mean, polished etc.) it's just a testgame. Also this won't be sold at all.

The plan is still to give this game to our Patreons as "bonus", and then release it some time after that for free on the blog. Possibly the first free version will also be released to the public very soon.
But possible additions to the test game will be first handed to the Patreons, then later on, to the public.
(something along those lines, we haven't settled on the exact details yet, but probably we'll get to that later this day, or in the upcoming days)

Lets move on to our real game: "Deathblight Apocalypse"
It's this game here:

Deathblight Apocalypse

Anyone still remembers this one?
We worked on it around the time Cres got her arm injured etc.
Then we couldn't continue working on it for a long time.
Several months ago, we figured we should do the "Sion and Medusa" game.

Well, there's some important stuff I need to share with you guys and girls.

A couple days ago, I was thinking about the whole Patreon stuff, games etc...
Originally we wanted to do the "Sion and Medusa" game, because we could deliver this (probably!) faster than "Deathblight Apocalypse"...
But, why's that?

DA (Deathblight Apocalypse) already has graphics, it's already running, the combat is working, the only thing missing is more enemies, hentai content and possibly a world map (for the random generation).
So... why would SaM (Sion and Medusa game) be "faster" than this?

Well... animated CGs...
Anyone remember that one?

We originally wanted to include animated CGs, which is a lot of work.
On top of that, we have NO prior experience in this field.
We did several animations attempts, but we never made the "real thing".

And there's one more problem:
Even IF we prove to be capable of producing animated CGs, there's a high probability that those will eat up a shitload of resources, so the game could probably become unplayable...
(at least unplayable on older machines)
Which is not good...

Back then I also mentioned, "if" those concerns prove to be true, we would rather do animated hentai pixel sprite animations + CG scenes (consisting out of several pictures/variations per scene).

So, the conclusion is?

We were not able to "test" animated CGs and it's pro's and con's, because of Cres arm injury back then. (everything healed, no worries!)

And we figured, our "next game" (whatever this is) should be a game we're confident that we can 100% deliver what we promise.

In the end we decided to continue with DA, but use hentai pixel sprite animations + CG scenes.No animated CG's anymore... sorry for the disappointment everyone...
But this is probably our best bet right now.
And we should be able to deliver this game way sooner than any possible release of "SaM" would have been.

On top of that, most of you want to see Ferania in a game, right?
(at least that's what I get out of the popularity polls)

Finally... lets get to the:

Patreon debate!

The last couple days, I was looking again at other Patreon pages (well I do that all the time, actually), and I wondered if we would sell ourselves too short, if we do what we originally planned?

So, this is what we planned at first: (the following is "obsolete" I just figured I'd mention it anyway)
I figured, I'd give anyone who gave us 1$ via Patreon full access to every "early access" version there is. Including the full game on release day.

Why I thought like this?
Well, I figured, such a project would most likely need 6-12 months until it's finished.
Probably around 10 months, so that would be 10$, right?
(1$ each month)

But then again, wouldn't it be "too cheap" if I sell "early access" this cheap?
I'm NOT trying to be greedy here!
I'm just thinking about the fact, that everyone else is selling "early access" at a higher price.
(this includes other Patreon campaigns, Kickstarter etc... but it excludes Steam, Steam early access is usually cheaper than buying the full game <-- so that's the only reversal thing, but we're not on Steam, we're debating about Patreon here)

So, doing a cheap "early access" model is an interesting idea.
But at the same time we would miss out on a lot of funding, probably?
The funding is extremely important, as it would help us to scale down commissions and other stuff.
Plus, we could afford our own appartment at some time, which should also boost productivity.
(Living with other people... there's always stuff that gets in the way, especially when working on hentai games...)

Also, if we reach a high enough amount of money, we could hire a good pixel sprite artist, so we could boost developement speed.
We obviously can't afford someone like that right now.

This all mostly means:
More funds = faster progress
Of course there's some "limit" to as fast as things can possibly progress.
I hope this makes sense?
(we certainly won't hire ~20+ people, even if we have the funds to do so... it would just get out of hand at some point... I'm just feeling confident in successfully leading a team out of ~5-10 people for now <-- I have years of experience with this kind of thing)

So, with all these things in mind, we figured (for now) that the following "model" would be the best?

This is what we "now" have in mind:

1$ Tier:

Everyone who pledges 1$ gets access to the Patreon only informations, plus the FULL game if they pledge on the same month that the game gets released on.
Yes, this means the people on this tier get to "read" about the stuff we're currently working on, plus they'll get to know WHEN release day is, some time before release day.
Plus they'll get the game once it's out, even if they only paid 1-3$ for it, if they are subscribed on the month the game gets released!

And yes, there will be "public" demo versions, but they'll be cut down in scale compared to the "early access" versions that always include the newest stuff.
(the public demo is just to show what the game is about)

However, people on this tier will not get the "full" game if they're NOT subscribed on the month the game gets released. They have to be subscribed at least in the month the game is being released, in order to get the full version!
Also they don't get games that had been created in the past, they'll just get the currently released game.

5$ Tier and upwards:

This includes the stuff on the 1$ tier (obviously) plus:
The 5$ tier and all tiers above would get full access to early access builds.

This means, that people who are on the 5$ tier will most likely pay WAY more for the game, than I originally planned, provided they're subscribed for the whole developement cycle...
But then again, it's "voluntary" pledges, no one needs to do that.
If you just want the game once its released without paying more for early access, there is still the 1$ tier. Plus we'll sell DA and probably all our other future games on DLSite too, so you still have other options.
Also, I'd figured there could be another thing.
Once we released several games, we could offer a "bundle" on Patreon, where you pledge ~30$ or something for 1 month only.
And then you'd get all the "finished" games that we created up until that point or something like it?
It's just an idea, and it's not going to be included unless we have 2 or more games "done".
So there's quite a lot of time going to pass until we get to that.

Anyway, most likely we'll be joining the "Patreon hentai game developers" this month.
First with "Last Demon Hunter", and shortly after that (probably next month though?) with "Deathblight Apocalypse".
Even if it just increases our current Patreon campaign by a small amount, we should still be able to work MUCH more on our games.
And that's what everyone wants too, right?

Currently, thanks to our Patreons, we're able to pay ~50% of our monthly bills through the webcomic.
The other 50% are being paid via commissions.
If we raise that amount a bit more, we'll need to do 2 webcomic pages a week, but after that goal, we would be able to concentrate much more on the game stuff.
(currently we're only working on the game stuff "in between" so progress is slow, as you noticed, but we're making progress! don't worry)

I hope I didn't forget anything important.
If there are any questions, feel free to ask!

And... I just realized I wrote WAY too much again... ugh...
Well, at least you all know what's going through my head now.

Please feel free to share your opinions in the comments!